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Cast and Crew of New Crave Original Series ‘Nesting’ Join BCA Students for Exclusive Screening Event

Yorkville University recently welcomed the team behind the new Crave Original Series, Nesting, to their 460 Yonge St. Campus for a special screening and cast/crew Q&A.

The exclusive event, which took place on March 6, featured a bevy of special guests – including the series’ co-creators and stars, Anna Hardwick and Rosa Laborde, as well as its Emmy-winning director Allana Harkin, director of photography, Ashley Iris Gill, and executive producers Michael Kessler and Tara Ellis

Organized by Bachelor of Creative Arts student Gospell Shanel, the 3-hour function featured the screening of all eight episodes, plus a 75-minute Q&A. The event proved an invaluable platform for BCA students to not only forge meaningful connections with these industry creatives, but also to probe them for insightful advice on how best to bring their stories to the screen. 

Nesting co-creator and star Rosa Laborde and DOP Ashley Iris Gill
Nesting co-creator and star Rosa Laborde and DOP Ashley Iris Gill

For Nesting co-creators, co-stars and executive producers Hardwick and Laborde, the choice to pitch their series as a short form one – featuring eight, bite-sized, seven-to-eight-minute episodes – was a decision they made early on to ensure the project got made. 

“We right away wanted to do short form, because we wanted to have a little bit more creative control…we wanted a little bit more freedom, and we wanted to actually get it made,” Laborde said of the series, which follows a pair of unlikely best friends in their hunt for a baby daddy to fertilize their drying eggs, so that they can co-parent together in a new version of family. 

“These things can often go through such arduous development processes. You can do so much work, get paid money, but then it never gets made…So we approached it always as short form.” 

The other thing the pair did to ensure the series would get made, Laborde said, was to apply to a grant program specifically geared to women in television – not once, but twice, refusing to let their initial failure to win the grant stop them from trying again. 

“We got a ‘no’ and I think it’s really important to know that a ‘no’ is often the path to your ‘yes’ – it’s not the end of the road. We absolutely got a ‘no’ the first round of applying for funding, and then we went back and we got feedback,” she explained. 

“Always get feedback if you can. Ask ‘Why did I get a no?’ I’ve done this in many situations – often with theatre grants – ‘Why did we get a no?’ And they’ll tell you…and all of that information can be really helpful for you the second time you apply.” 

Nesting director Allana Harkin and co-creator and star Anna Hardwick
Nesting director Allana Harkin and co-creator and star Anna Hardwick

Another tip the Nesting team imparted on YU students was the importance of being a ‘multi-hyphenate’ in the Canadian screen industries.

Series director Harkin – who’s amassed 10 Emmy nominations over the course of her 20+ year career – started off as a member of sketch comedy troupe here in Toronto alongside three other women, before transitioning into a successful career in TV, first as an actor, then later, as a director and producer. 

“Our sketch group would write shows and go put them on at the Rivoli or any bar that would take allow us to perform…from there we shot a pilot, and that the way I kind of transitioned to television. But yeah, I started my career as an actor, but you just end up doing all the jobs,” she said. 

“I feel like, in Canada, you have to learn how to do all the jobs, which is a great thing. In the States, they call it being a ‘multi-hyphenate’, and it’s really important, because I feel like I have literally done every job.” 

BCA student organizer Gospell Shanel (middle) and Program Director Adam Till (right)
BCA student organizer Gospell Shanel (middle) and Program Director Adam Till (right)

That sentiment was echoed by Hardwick, herself a multihyphenate co-creator, co-writer, co-star and executive producer on Nesting

“Starting out, I worked primarily as an actor, and out of necessity, I started producing to make things happen,” she explained, noting that, for her, the reason she’s in the industry is to communicate, tell stories and bring people together.

“For me, my happiest days are days spent together on set when I’ve got this group of people to come together to tell a story…It does really make me feel, like, ‘Wow! This is magic and this is why I’m here on this planet!’ It makes all those years of rejection, all those ‘Nos’, all those ‘You’re too tall’ or ‘You need to lose weight’ and this, that and the other, worth it. You get to do something you made yourself – and it’s the best feeling!”

For more insights from the Nesting cast and crew – including director of photography Ashley Iris Gill and producers Michael Kessler and Tara Ellis, watch the video here:

The Nesting screening marked the launch of YU’s “Back to Film School” program – a new initiative created by students in Yorkville University’s Bachelor of Creative Arts students, to bring industry professionals to campus. The goal of the program is to provide a platform for meaningful connections between students and industry creatives.

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